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O.C. students who stay out of gangs will get Chivas soccer tickets

Orange County law enforcement officials challenged students at a Orange middle school Thursday morning to stay out of gangs earn good grades in school. The incentive? Soccer tickets.

About 700 students gathered at Yorba Middle School for a presentation by police and city officials including Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas.

“Our important message that we have here for you today is stay out of gangs,” Rackauckas said. “When somebody joins a gang, they are agreeing to a life of crime. It’s what we call a dead end.”

Minutes later, representatives from Chivas USA, including team owner Antonio Cue, surprised the students. Player Ben Zemanski told the children that it wasn’t too long ago that he was sitting in their shoes.

“The choices that you make now will help you become who you want to become,” he said.

Moses Carias, 12, said he has grown up watching soccer with his family. He said he wants to win the Chivas USA tickets by facing the challenge.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to do it right,” he said.

The incentive is a collaboration between Chivas USA and the Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership.

More than 1,200 elementary and middle school students in Orange County will receive the opportunity to attend Chivas USA games.


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--Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Students at Yorba Middle School Academy of Arts in Orange reach for a soccer ball thrown by Chivas midfielder Marvin Iraheta  during an anti gang program hosted by Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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